Whether it's the 'sitting in a field and getting drunk on cider' type or otherwise, we're suckers for a good festival. So we were rather enthused to discover that the literary development organisation, Spread The Word, are gearing up for their inaugural London Short Story Festival this June. The festival will include talks, workshops, masterclasses, author Q&A’s and readings from a number of reputable writers, many of whom are still to be announced. We'll keep you posted on more details closer to the time but in the interim, you can find out more over at Spread The Word.
ISSUE 11 IS OUT NOW
April 1st 2014
After months of careful curation, The Journeys Issue has slipped off the printing presses and is now officially out in the world.
From escaping the rat race to explore the planet, to mapping out our lives in jars of memories, to watching a baby's lungs billow into action for the first time; the new issue features 24 short stories and poems that allow us to travel into the curious minds that stipple today's literary and illustration scene.
If you want to voyage through a few of the spreads, you can do so here before ordering the real thing at our single issues page, or subscribing from just £10 a year. Alternatively, you can read the new issue on your tablet or phone by downloading the Popshot app. It's all so 21st century...
THE (NEW) POETRY REVIEW
March 28th 2014
Back in November we wrote about the revitalised Ambit Magazine, which was turning a new leaf with a new editorial team and a complete redesign of the magazine. A few months on, and one of the stalwarts of poetry magazines, The Poetry Review (formerly known as just Poetry Review) has followed suit, announcing its first redesign in over ten years.
As one of the most widely read poetry magazines in the UK, it's great to see it scrubbing up its image, not only for its own benefit but for the benefit of poetry as a whole. The disconnect between literary substance and visual style has always been something we've been fascinated by - in fact, if that disconnect didn't exist, Popshot probably wouldn't either - so it's a real joy to see a closing of the chasm. Note the illustrated cover as well, created by Alessandro Gottardo, also known as Shout.
Well done The Poetry Review, very well done.
ISSUE 11 IS IMMINENT
March 26th 2014
In just five days' time, our eleventh issue will embark on its journey towards the bookshops and the subscriber's doormats of this world. To be one of the first to find it in your hands, pre-order your copy or subscribe from just £10 a year.
POEMS THAT MAKE GROWN MEN CRY
March 25th 2014
This should probably win an award for having one of the most unambiguous book titles known to modern society. A new poetry anthology published by Simon & Schuster, entitled Poems That Make Grown Men Cry, with contributions from Daniel Radcliffe, Nick Cave, and John le Carré amongst others. Found on The Guardian.
FOYLE YOUNG POETS 2014
March 21st 2014
There aren't a huge number of literary magazines and organisations that help support the next generation of young writers. However, of the ones that do, the Foyle Young Poets Award is one of the finest. Run by the Poetry Society (who also run Young Poets Network), the competition has helped provide a platform, and ongoing support, to some of the young writers that have gone on to become figureheads in the poetry world. This year's competition to find some of the most promising young poets aged 11-17 is now open, with judging duties taken care of by Grace Nichols and Simon Barraclough. The deadline passes on July 31st, and you can find out more about it from the Foyle Young Poets website.
ISSUE 11 - THE COVER
March 14th 2014
With our forthcoming issue of Popshot - The Journeys Issue - being sent to print this morning, we're thrilled to now release the cover artwork for it, illustrated by the sublimely talented Darren Hopes. Containing 24 short stories and poems, illustrated by a raft of fantastic contemporary illustrators, it's an issue we're very proud to be putting out.
To get hold of your copy before anyone else, you can pre-order Issue 11 through our single issues page, or subscribe from just £10. The print edition will launch on April 1st with subscriber's copies and pre-orders going out the same day. Digital subscribers will also receive the new issue onto their smartphones and tablets courtesy of the Popshot app.
March 12th 2014
Apologies for the month-long radio silence dear readers. Between putting together our brand new issue, and living out its message in the real world, we've not made an awful lot of time for much else. However, with the cover for Issue 11 being unveiled in just a couple of days' time, we thought we would give you a brief glimpse of what our eyes have been filled with over the last week. One more proofread and a layout check, and we're off to the printers!
February 13th 2014
After spending the last two months or so immersed in poems and short stories about journeys, we thought it time to embark on some journeys of our own. A couple of poems in particular from the forthcoming issue inspired us to dust off the passports and make a run for the skies, so as a result, Popshot will be on holiday for the next 2 weeks. That's not to say that everything will close down completely, we'll still be keeping on top of all correspondence, just a little slower than usual. However, all orders will be sent out upon our return so keep that in mind when subscribing or ordering single issues. If you can't bear to wait for 2 weeks for a printed edition to arrive, you can always download the Popshot app which contains every issue we've ever made.
WANTED: YOUNG SOHO WRITER IN RESIDENCE
February 5th 2014
Here's an exciting opportunity for a London-based writer aged 18-30. IdeasTap and Spread The Word are looking for an experienced short fiction writer or poet to be Soho Writer in Residence for the London-wide Cityread campaign during April of this year. The successful writer will receive a £5000 payment, a mentor, and a series of commissions based on Soho which will be arranged by Spread The Word. The deadline for applications is on February 12th at 12pm, so if you're interested in being involved, you can read more over at IdeasTap. One week and counting...
THE JOURNEYS' END
January 29th 2014
After almost 8 weeks of being open for literary submissions, and another 4 days of rigorous shortlisting, we have now selected the final 24 pieces of writing that will form our forthcoming Journeys issue. It was another blinding example of the breadth and quality of the work being written today and despite almost drowning in submissions on more than one occasion, it was a joy from start to finish.
The authors whose work has made it in will have received a note of acceptance from us by now. If you submitted but haven't received one, apologies for not being able to be more personal with you and thanks again for submitting to us. We appreciate the time and effort that goes into every submission that we receive so if you didn't make it in this time, there's always our next submissions opening which begins on June 1st. We don't yet know what the theme will be, but we'll keep you furnished with details.
In the meantime, if you would like to get a better idea of the work we publish, you can subscribe from £10 a year, or read every issue we've ever made for just £2.99 courtesy of the Popshot app.
SELLING IPADS WITH THAT SPEECH FROM DEAD POETS' SOCIETY
January 15th 2014
Only a few blog posts ago (although it was back in November) we wrote a short musing on the slight irony of poetry being used in advertising. Since then a few more examples have cropped up although none quite as overt as this one from Apple. Borrowing from one of Robin Williams' many inspirational speeches from the film, Dead Poets' Society, the words have been recycled to encourage people not to write poetry, but to invest in an iPad Air. Shameless? Probably. Nice to hear Robin Williams' dulcet tones again? Definitely. Check it out above and see what it stirs in you.
LITERARY SUBMISSIONS FOR THE JOURNEYS ISSUE (A REMINDER)
January 3rd 2014
With the frenzy of Christmas and New Year beginning to fade, we're now just 3 weeks away from submissions deadline day for our 'Journeys' issue. So if your New Year's resolution is to start getting your writing into the pages of literary magazines, and you have a journey-themed piece in your repertoire that you haven't yet sent in to us, we'd love to hear from you.
If you've already submitted your poetry or short fiction - fear not, your submissions are already under consideration. However, to those of you who haven't yet submitted but fully intend to, here's a reminder to get your writing in to us before January 25th.
A little tip: we've now received more than our fair share of poems and short stories that take place on public transport, but there has been a distinct lack of work that has looked at the theme from a more metaphorical angle. The theme leaves itself wide open for diverse interpretation so feel free to think outside the transport box! For the complete submissions guidelines, head to our submit page.
THE GREAT CHRISTMAS WIND DOWN
December 20th 2013
There's a high chance that by now, most of you will have noticed that Christmas is upon us. If you haven't, Daniel Mitchell's illustration above should give the game away. You might also notice that the penguin's festive themed jumper cleverly incorporates a couple of the graphics in our festive themed logo. Can't argue with that.
So this is just a little note to say that although we'll be winding down for the Christmas period, we'll still be sending out orders and subscriptions as usual, and keeping on top of literary submissions for our next issue on the theme of 'Journeys'. If you have a literary masterpiece up your sleeve that you haven't sent in to us yet, the holidays might be a fine time to perfect it before catapulting it into our inbox. If you want to find out more, take a trip to our submit page.
A very Merry Christmas to you all, enjoy the downtime, eat as much as you possibly can, and we'll see you in 2014!
The charity auction has secured close to 100 prints donated by leading contemporary illustrators and designers including Mr Bingo, Patternity, Hvass&Hannibal, the Peepshow Collective and Nous Vous. So, if you would like to get your hands on some beautiful illustration prints whilst helping contribute to a truly valuable cause, head over to the Grand Kind Haiyan Print Auction website. All auctions will be ending over the course of this week from today until Saturday 14th December, with all proceeds going to the Philippines Typhoon Appeal.
WE'VE GONE A BIT CHRISTMAS
December 6th 2013
Although the onslaught of Christmas is usually met with heavy groans - especially in cynical old Britain - we're fairly sizable fans of the festive season and everything that comes along with it. So, with just 19 days left until the big day, we've decided to hop on the baubled bandwagon and allowed ourselves to go a bit 'Christmas'. With that, the Popshot website has been subtly slapped around the face with red and white, and we're shamelessly taking it as an opportunity to remind you that Popshot would make for a great Christmas present.
So if you're wondering what to get for that friend or family member who loves their poetry, short fiction, illustration, or any combination of the three, the answer might be at our single issues or subscribe page. Overseas orders will need to be placed in the next few days to guarantee delivery before December 25th, whilst UK orders can be placed all the way up until December 20th.
Illustration above by Sanna Mander
LITERARY SUBMISSIONS FOR ISSUE 11: JOURNEYS
December 2nd 2013
That's right folks, the long wait is over. After weeks of media speculation and a number of attempted break-ins to Popshot HQ to find out the news first, we can now announce the theme for our 11th issue. With that, the doors for literary submissions have been dramatically flung open and we are now ready to read your short fiction and poetry on the theme of 'Journeys'.
As usual, we wanted to keep the theme fairly expansive - something that could provide the breadth of interpretation that Popshot has become known for, whilst maintaining a sense of cohesion. Whilst much of our time is spent focusing on the destinations that we intend to reach, more often than not it's the journeys that we take in getting there that provide us with our best observations, learnings, and stories. This is what we want to focus on this issue: the journeys that we take in life and the marks that those journeys leave us with.
To make sure that you're familiar with the submissions guidelines, take a trip to our submit page. We've made one change to the guidelines this issue, upping the maximum word count for short fiction from 2,000 words to 3,000 words. We can't wait to read your literary gems over the next 8 weeks, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to throw them at us. Get set, go.
TONGUE FU VS ANTI SLAM
November 28th 2013
We've mentioned Tongue Fu a number of times on this blog over the years, watching it grow into a pretty established event that has managed to recruit some excellent talent whilst not taking itself too seriously. Their upcoming night is testament to that, packing a splendid array of wordsmiths into one room and getting them to battle it out under the guise of an anti-slam. They've even recruited Bang Said The Gun creator, Dan Cockrill, to guest judge the whole messy affair. It should be a corker so if you're in East London on December 6th, definitely get down there.
POETRY IN ADVERTISING
November 25th 2013
Considering poetry's general lack of commerciality in the 21st century (the story may have been different in centuries gone by although there's not much evidence for it) we're endlessly fascinated to see poetry being used for commercial gain. There's something rather ironic, and oxymoronic, about the idea of one of the wealthiest industries turning to one of the more impoverished ones in order to help them make more money. Ultimately, emotion sells - you only have to look at John Lewis TV ads to see what value a lip-trembling campaign can provide - and when it comes to art forms dealing in strong emotions, poetry is perhaps one of the finest.
So it was with great interest that we discovered Popshot-published poet, Hollie McNish, had been picked up by Dove to write a couple of poems on self esteem. The results are Smile and Big Smacking Kiss, two poems that in classic Hollie McNish style help to question some of the conventions that come along with our modern society. Go and have a good listen to them and after you've done that, check out a few more TV ads that used poetry (some of it recent, some of it not, some of it good, some of it not) to help sell their wares:
The last time we slashed the price of Popshot was when we launched our 'Broken Biscuits' idea over 3 years ago, where we sold off damaged copies of Popshot for half price. It was a roaring success and nearly 150 copies that were destined for a life unread went to good homes.
Roughly 1000 days later, and we're doing it again. Except this time, the copies aren't damaged, and there's no real reason for doing it except that we'd rather have Popshot on our reader's shelves than on our own. The catch? You only have 5 days before they go back to full price, so if you've been wanting to build your collection but haven't been feeling overly flush, now is your golden moment. Head to our single issues page before the close of play on Sunday to take full advantage.
Update: The Modern Living Issue, The Power Issue, and The Imagination Issue have all sold out.
November 15th 2013
Entering into its second year, Interrobang is a small festival of spoken word, music, theatre and comedy held in the heart of Farringdon, London. Operating between The Betsey Trotwood - where live acts such as Inua Ellams, Jacob Sam-La Rose and Siddartha Bose will be - and Free Word - where the book/magazine fair is going to be held - it's shaping up to be a great little festival. To get hold of your tickets for a rather minor £7, head to the Interrobang website, and in return for your commitment, you'll be able to pick up a copy of Popshot from Free Word for the grand price of nothing. That's right - buy a ticket to Interrobang and you can get your own copy of Popshot to keep forever, for free. Can't say much fairer than that. See you there!
TASCHEN'S 100 ILLUSTRATORS
November 12th 2013
When it comes to books on contemporary illustration, perhaps some of the finest ones come from art book publisher, TASCHEN. Their Illustration Now! series, edited by Julius Wiedemann, has become the go-to for finding a wide array of illustration talent from around the world. Well, that and Popshot of course...
Due for release in December - just in time for Christmas - their new book entitled 100 Illustrators aims to pinpoint 100 of the most significant illustrators working in the field who have left their mark on the world of illustration over the last decade or so. Pulling from 600 possible illustrators that have been featured in the Illustration Now! series, the book is set in two volumes and explores each of the chosen illustrators across a whopping 640 pages. Lovely to see Mydeadpony featured, who illustrated a poem in our third issue and whose print you can buy from our Print Shop.
To pre-order your copy of TASCHEN's latest illustration compendium, head to their website.
THE COMPLETE ILLUSTRATIONS OF ISSUE 10
November 7th 2013
In an ongoing attempt to show off some of the epic illustration work that graces every issue of Popshot, we've now posted all of the illustrations from our latest issue - The Wild Issue - on our Pinterest page. Go and get your eyeballs on a collection of visual gems, and if you want to read the fiction and poetry that they were inspired by, you can pick up a copy of the Wild issue at our single issues page.
THE NEW AMBIT MAGAZINE
November 1st 2013
Whilst many literary magazines have come and gone in recent times, Ambit Magazine is one of the longest-standing of them all. Founded in 1959 by Martin Bax, the magazine has been a part of Britain's literary culture for 54 years, with Martin holding down the editorship for its entire lifespan - a true feat by anyone's standards. However, with the launch of its 214th issue, the magazine is now turning over a very new leaf with the editorship being handed over to Briony Bax. Daughter of the late Adrian Mitchell, and a distant relative of Martin Bax, she takes the helm along with a new, young editorial board, and a fresh determination to seek out new voices. Subsequently, the magazine has been redesigned, the art section has been expanded, and Ambit now has a new website as well.
It's a real joy to see such an established magazine still going strong and looking to the future. To ensure that it remains in our literary culture for another 54 years, go and support them by buying a copy of the new issue, subscribing, or becoming an 'Ambit Angel'. It's probably worth it for that cover alone...
Old news is old news. For that reason we don't keep the old stuff for very long.
If you want more news, bookmark us and come back again real soon. We'd love that.